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March 20, 2020

Food scandals in China and how it can gain trust post-coronavirus

China has a history of domestic food scandals, which has caused consumers around the world to be wary. Local consumers worry about safety from domestic brands and as Chinese food and ingredients are used globally this is an international concern.

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Coronavirus is the latest health scandal drastically hit China and domestic brands and production need to increase overall transparency to rebuild and maintain trust in its consumers both at home and worldwide.

Food scandals in China include poisonous meats, contaminated exported wheat protein, school food poisoning, sewage used in tofu and contaminated baby formula, which received the most publicity after an estimated 300,00 babies were affected in 2008. Such a prolific history of food safety scandals creates a strong distrust on local products among Chinese consumers and, with more cases becoming known to the global market, there is also a growing distrust internationally around Chinese products.

Improving international ties will be positive for Chinese companies and food safety would be an ideal start.

As information becomes more and more widespread and accessible through the Internet of Things consumers can access stories not published on mainstream news channels which have led to a shift in consumer opinion of brands.

China’s top five commodity exports are cotton, tea, rice, potatoes and soybeans. The latter three are common staples across the world so countries who import these commodities need to be able to trust China’s production. As a result, China has upped its transparency, with more information on its production processes available online now than ever before.

Upon release from weeks in quarantine, this month some Chinese businesses have seen a high demand for food products, with Reuters reporting queues waiting up to 6-hours for local hotpot restaurants. This shows a clear passion for food from Chinese consumers which other businesses, with less consumer trust, could use to invoke such passion for their products if greater transparency around hygiene and safety was applied.

Companies would do well to follow the stricter measures seen within more Westernised countries in regards to food hygiene. A majority of Chinese food processing firms have been known to fail yearly safety inspections in the past.

One key factor companies need to focus on is increasing their social media presence on popular local apps, such as WeChat and Weibo.

In order to change consumer opinion, Chinese companies will need to focus on the long-term implementation of stricter hygiene practices and marketing to change consumer opinion which is deeply rooted in distrust.

Free Report
img

How is technology having an impact on Consumer buying behavior?

As the world rapidly becomes more connected, it is important for brands to understand the impact that improved technology is having on consumer purchasing behaviors. To react effectively, brands must know how to engage with increasingly digitally savvy consumers. GlobalData’s latest Trend Tracker report provides an analysis of Digital Lifestyles – one of GlobalData's top consumer trends for 2022. The report includes an overview of how digital lifestyles are evolving, including the significant impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on accelerating digitalization, and how this trend is emerging across different Consumer sectors. Key features included in the report:
  • A breakdown of the trend’s prominence across sectors
  • Insights into consumer online penetration, preferred electronic devices and engagement
  • The key drivers and challenges impacting the digital lifestyles trend
  • A spotlight on key innovations set to reshape the consumer landscape
  • Analysis of what’s next for digital innovations and how brands can leverage the trend
Download this report to keep in touch with the more digital consumer.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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